The Adventure Company reconvened last night to prepare for our new adventures. We made a few changes since the last time we met. All new characters, for one — we’d all died in the last encounter, at the bottom of a deep hole, in front of a portal to an evil realm, a realm in which many of us are presumably now trapped for eternity.
We welcomed a new face, Mike S., who brings the Adventure Co up to fighting strength. And we moved from Fantasy Grounds 2 as our tabletop of choice, to Roll20.net. We moved tabletops because we wanted a tabletop that did LESS for us. We’d make our own dice rolls; our spells and abilities would be marked off on paper character sheets and in the pages of the actual source books. More primal. More real. Plus, it’s free.
While Roll20.net has its own video chat system, we switched to a Google Hangout, into which Roll20 docked itself neatly. So no more switching between the game window and the hangout window.
The Adv. Co. v2 is comprised of Pakts Dabagars, gnome warlock; Kaveith, goliath warden; B.A., tiefling wizard (sorry, missed the complete name); Valda Onyxheart, dwarf shaman (my character) and her spirit companion Dern, a basilisk; and a tiefling invoker whose player was knocked off the net by snow storms and didn’t get to play last night so I didn’t catch his name.
Arrayed against us were three hobgoblin soldiers and two hobgoblin archers, so fairly evenly matched, except they were level 3, we were level 1, and a tiefling down.
We did have a gnome, though.
We were soundly defeated. If the DM hadn’t had some of the hobs flee, it would have been a wipe, but the gnome DID survive!
So yay for our side.
It was a good tech shakedown, and allowed us all to get familiar with our abilities and how to perform our roles.
I’d expected my spirit companion to be more of a secondary tank, since it takes no damage unless it is hit for ten or more points of damage, which causes it to dissipate and causes me to take five damage. Dern turned out to be all too fragile, being dissipated time and again, until I was finally knocked unconscious, even though I’d been hit directly by an enemy only once.
However, every hit Dern took was a hit someone else didn’t take, and the maximum party damage for each hit he took was five hit points, instead of the ten or more points actually dealt. So as a damage sponge, he worked pretty well.
Healing was a struggle. My bread-and-butter heal is dependent on my spirit companion attacking and hitting an enemy, and an ally being adjacent to it, who will gain three temporary hit points. So I guess that’s not really a good heal, because temp hit points don’t stack. But, it’s free.
My actual heal, Healing Spirit, heals an ally within five squares from me, and additionally a second ally adjacent to my spirit companion. I can only use that twice an encounter, but it can be four heals, depending on how PCs are distributed. Trying to keep my spirit companion in the best place took some thought, but it was helped a little because it would die all the time, which meant I could just bring it back where I wanted it to be (within range).
Since this was a one-off encounter, I didn’t mind using my daily as much as I would normally. Mine is Blessing of the Seven Winds, which damages one creature, but leaves a persistent, movable 3×3 zone of wind on the battle map for the rest of the encounter. Clearly, if it is to be used, it should be used early, and I dropped mine as soon as I saw which way the wind was blowing (*cough*).
The DM played it for the rest of the encounter as if it were continually knocking monsters within it down, but on re-reading the spell description, it looks like its only power, once cast, is to slide each creature caught in it one square on my command as a minor action. This is actually far more powerful an effect than we’d played it.
Since this is a SLIDE and not a SHIFT, adjacent allies would get attacks of opportunity on it. Since the effects of the swirling winds are under my control, once cast, my allies can stand in it without being affected by it.
I’m liking this. It IS a daily, so I won’t be able to use this every encounter; but used by this interpretation, and I believe it to be the correct one, the fight would have gone differently last night.
Anyway, fun was had by all. Combat is still slow, but that’s D&D4e for you. Wasn’t all that fast with the original D&D, either, especially since in the original D&D, people would be doing all sorts of weird stuff, using the environment and so on. 4e is far more tactical.
Next time we meet, it will be for real. And perhaps we’ll be facing monsters more our level.